Puerto Rican boxer Orlando Cruz has won
his first fight as an openly gay athlete.
Two weeks ago, the 31-year-old Cruz
released a statement in which he said that he is “a proud gay man,”
making him the first boxer to come out during his career.
Cruz won his bout against Jorge Pazos
on Friday by unanimous decision.
“That was my moment, my opportunity,
my event,” Cruz
told ESPN after the fight. “And I won.”
He said that he was touched by the
support he received from the crowd at the Kissimmee Civic Center
outside Orlando, Florida.
“I was very happy that they respect
me,” he said. “That's what I want – them to see me as a boxer,
as an athlete and as a man in every sense of the word.”
Cruz said the win was “going to open
my door for a world title fight.”
He said of his new position as an
openly gay role model: “I'm only one person. I feel happy with
where I am. I'm free. I'm more at peace.”